Everton Football Club is backing a campaign to kick homophobia out of football.
The Blues’ captain Phil Jagielka and other members of the Everton first-team will be wearing rainbow laces in their boots for this weekend’s Premier League fixture against West Ham at Upton Park, to demonstrate their solidarity for fellow professionals who are gay.
The campaign ‘Right Behind Gay Footballers’, which was launched earlier this week by the Club’s online betting and gaming partner Paddy Power and gay rights charity Stonewall, aims to highlight the plight of gay footballers, who the charity believes are too worried about the impact on their careers and personal lives to ‘come out’.
Rainbow coloured laces, the international symbol for gay pride, have been sent to all professional clubs in England, Scotland and Wales, with the aim of every footballer to wear them for the fixtures on the weekend of September 21 and 22 and send out a strong message that a player’s sexuality is not important.
Speaking about wearing the rainbow laces, Everton and England defender Phil Jagielka said: “For me and the rest of the lads at Everton a player’s sexuality is not important, but their ability on the pitch is.
“We don’t tolerate discrimination of any kind at Everton and the whole Club works hard to get that message out to the fans.”
Jagielka continued: “No one should feel that they can’t be themselves – on or off the pitch – so that is why we are supporting this initiative.”
Everton Football Club is committed to supporting all members of the community, regardless of their race, gender, creed or sexual orientation.
Discrimination of any form is not tolerated at Goodison Park and the Club operates a dedicated phone and text line for supporters to report any incidents of abuse.
Through the Club’s official charity, Everton in the Community, the Blues work with members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and, for the past two years, have supported and taken part in Liverpool’s Gay Pride event.
For more information about the work Everton undertakes to support all members of the community, visit evertonfc.com/community.